Driven: 399bhp Volvo C30 Polestar Concept – PistonHeads

28 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Driven: 399bhp Volvo C30 Polestar Concept – PistonHeads


PH takes a spin in a (and very fast) 4WD C30. It’s a hard life,

C30 concept with its touring car

Remember the 850 R? For a few years a decade and a ago Volvo abandoned its worthy-but-dull car image and became, well, mad.

First it decided to a 225bhp turbocharged five-cylinder into its 850 saloon and estate. it decided to take its boxy into British touring with Tom Walkinshaw Racing. it created the 240bhp T-5R, ending up, in 1996, with the torque-steer fest that was the 850 R.

After that, Volvo began to get all sensible again, the last genuinely performance-focused – the S60 R – quietly off the price lists in 2007.

But do say that lunacy skips and this, the great (or possibly great) grandson of the 850 R, is positively with insanity – of the sort.

It’s called the C30 Polestar Performance Concept while that name not telegraph this car’s these vital statistics 399bhp, four-wheel drive and in 4.6secs. This is most not a prissy, design-led concept all bodykit and no trousers.

The team behind the most Volvo in a generation are Polestar, who happen to have run Volvo’s entry in the Swedish Touring Car (STCC) since 1996, and who are this year’s STCC with a pair of C30 racers and built in-house.

Christian owner of Polestar, reckons the has spent around 130,000 developing this one-off C30 for some reason, seems comfortable with letting get its grubby mitts on it at Volvo’s factory test track. On its second-ever outing. He must be a chap.

It’s a bright afternoon when we arrive at test facility, and the C30 concept stunning in its bright, icy blue signature colour, by the way) but I that the stark, shocking hue of the would look equally on the drabbest of days.

With the STCC team also the track today for a shakedown of two cars ahead of the next we have a few minutes to poke the C30 concept while the racers around the 1km test track. So with the half-a-V10 wail of the cars’ 2.0-litre naturally five cylinder engines in the that we get our first chance for a look at the car.

The outside is pretty self-explanatory. front arches and a deep spoiler are balanced at the rear by a car-inspired wing. Polestar put it through a wind tunnel yet but us that we know at least the spoiler doesn’t fall off at

The bright blue paint is set off by big 19-inch alloys.

The inside is a feast of suede. Almost surface, from the gearknob to the to the seats and steering wheel, is in the stuff. It’s all very trimmed, but if Volvo were to this car – or even remotely like it – want to tone it down a

But it’s not as if the Polestar C30 has nothing to up its looks. The Polestar folks been busy beneath the modifying the pistons, conrods and camshafts of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder and teaching its ECU some new tricks. The C30 turbo has also been away, replaced by a larger 3K and a bigger front-mounted intercooler has installed.

In total, the changes are enough to 399bhp and 376lb ft of torque. not been a concerted effort to weight, but plenty of the racier such as the front seats, are than the standard C30 T5’s and so the car around 20kg). With a weight of 1420kg, that’s for a power to weight ratio of per ton, almost identical to the measurement for the new BMW M3 GTS.

Should be then.

Harnessing that is a version of the Haldex four-wheel-drive used in some versions of the V50 but with Quaife mechanical front and rear, and a toughened-up diff. The gearbox is standard, the ratios have been

On the handling side of things are new Ohlins springs and dampers lower the car by 30mm), a more steering rack, 235/35 P Zeros all round and chunky brakes (380mm with callipers up front and 330mm with four-piston callipers out There’s also a beefy just behind the rear to help stiffen the chassis.

Eventually the racing cars are and Robert Dahlgren, one of Volvo’s drivers, hops in to the concept’s seat to show me around the winding test track. The he pulls away I know car is a proper piece of kit. The stainless steel exhaust the turbocharged five a booming and the power and torque is immediately strong, even though is really just pootling

Soon enough it’s my The driving position is immediately the suede-covered wheel feels – if a little oversized and the seats hug and support just as should. Moving gently the car feels recognisably Volvo, a road car, but as soon as you your foot on the accelerator in the car surges forward with a un-Volvo thrust, and you have to third before you know it.

The corner is over the crest of a and is a long left-hander with little in the way of run-off. I’m acutely aware that driving a 130,000-euro one-off – and one still in its early of dynamic development – and travelling rather faster I had expected, so I get on the brakes hard, and for a bit of a ‘moment’.

I needn’t have worried. The massive brakes haul the C30 to a more appropriate speed ease and, as soon as I in, I realise there’s grip to Even if you start trying hard the scariest thing will happen (in the dry at least) is the nose will start to wide, a trend that’s arrested by a lift of the throttle.

a nice balance to the chassis, Push hard and you can feel the car torque to the rear on the exits of It’s not going to provide you lairy drift-god moments this car’s default is definitely understeer – but the wheels certainly help to you a good slingshot out of corners.

And you can hard. This is no racing car Dahlgren reckons his Volvo car could lap the 1km test circuit six seconds faster, despite its power deficit, thanks to a body, superior rubber and suspension – but it clearly is than comfortable with work.

The Polestar C30 isn’t a raw track though – the whole car is with a sense of polish and that seems entirely in with 21st century smooth, sophisticated MO. It’s there are few rattles, and the ride at least on track – surprisingly pliant. If it wasn’t for an boom from the exhaust 4500rpm, you could quite believe that this was a production car.

Really, the worst thing about car is that Volvo will certainly not make it. Polestar is to forge more serious with Volvo Cars, the ultimate goal of turning into a Volvo version of or BMW’s M Division. But you have to before you can run, and the C30 Polestar is the 100-metre sprint.

A Volvo C30 with, say, 280bhp to on the likes of the S3 and Golf R? We certainly the sound of it. Hopefully somebody at is listening. It’s about the company went a bit mad again.

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